Netanyahu Uses Icy Relationship with Obama in Campaign Ad

YERUSHALAYIM (Reuters) -
President Barack Obama meets with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in New York, September 21, 2016. (Reuters/Kevin Lamarque/File Photo)

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is using a second American president in his re-election campaign ads, but with a twist, featuring a famously frosty encounter with Barack Obama.

The prime minister put up billboards several weeks ago picturing a smiling President Donald Trump shaking his hand — highlighting warm ties marked by dramatic U.S. policy moves that Netanyahu has welcomed.

A video Netanyahu posted on Thursday on social media portrayed his cold relationship with Trump’s predecessor to try to attract votes.

It shows a 2011 Oval Office meeting in which Netanyahu lectured a grim-looking Obama on how the latter’s vision of ways to achieve Middle East peace was unrealistic.

“In the face of all pressure, I will always protect our country,” Netanyahu wrote in Hebrew in a caption.

At the meeting, Netanyahu insisted Israel would never pull back to its pre-1967 war borders — which would mean big concessions of occupied land — that Obama had said should be the basis for negotiations on creating a Palestinian state.

“It’s not going to happen. Everybody knows it’s not going to happen,” the Israeli leader said in the clip, as Obama, chin on hand, fixed him with an icy stare.

The White House encounter exposed a deep divide between Netanyahu and Obama, whose efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014.

In Washington on Monday, Netanyahu was at Trump’s side when the president signed a proclamation recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, territory that Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 war and annexed in 1981.

A popular figure in Israel, Trump had already broken with long-standing U.S. and international policies when he recognized Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital in 2017 and moved the American embassy there from Tel Aviv last May.